British and French officials to hold talks to end 'scallop wars'

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Talks between British and French officials will be held in London on Wednesday to find a resolution to the scallop wars.

The French navy is ready to intervene to prevent further clashes between fishermen harvesting the shellfish in the English Channel after heated confrontations.

Agriculture Minister George Eustice is expected to be quizzed about the issue when he appears before the Commons Environment Committee.

French officials and industry representatives are set to meet their UK counterparts later to discuss ways to resolve the row.

About 35 French boats confronted five British craft off the coast of northern France last week, with UK crews reporting that rocks, smoke bombs and other projectiles were hurled at them during the confrontation.

The clashes have occurred in a scallop-rich area known as the Baie de Somme, off the coast of Normandy.

National regulations allow British ships to fish legally in the area all year round but French fishermen are banned from taking the molluscs between May 15 and October 1 to conserve stocks.

France's agriculture minister Stephane Travert said the French navy is "ready to step in" if more clashes break out.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the comments were in line with Environment Secretary Michael Gove's position that it was for the French to take any steps needed to prevent violence in the area.

Downing Street said both sides were hoping for an "amicable" solution from the talks.